Helping out on historic sites.

  • Amiens

    Amiens

    © ATOUT FRANCE/CRT Picardie/Sam Bellet

Helping out on historic sites.
Restoration and conservation of monuments (castles, ruined houses, public buildings), restoration of villages, archaeological excavations, rescuing sites under threat, creating and looking after trails for ramblers … all ways for young volunteers to spend fascinating, worth-while holidays! 
These sites are usually active during the summer months and are open to everyone; you don't have to stay for any specific period, but 2 to 3 weeks is long enough to get really involved in the work and, above all, the ambience. 
 
There are different types of sites: you could be restoring a castle, a cottage, a watercourse, a 13th Century convent, or a 12th Century fortress.
 
Competent leaders with teaching and technical training are in charge of the sites. 
 
Joining a site gives you a chance to get to know the country better, but the real purpose is to do something useful and achieve real results. The actual jobs to be done usually vary according to the needs of the moment; work is organised on a weekly basis: 20 to 30 hours for teenagers, and 30 to 35 hours for adults.
You could find yourself clearing scrub, shifting rubble, building, stone dressing, excavating the archaeology …
 
Sites which are open to individuals rather than groups only are mainly for the over-18s, with a few exceptions starting at 13 or 16 depending on the organisation. 
 
Young volunteers don't receive any wages or payment of any kind. Depending on the organisation involved, they may be asked for a contribution. A site in France lasting two weeks may cost around a hundred euros. The price usually covers full board, insurance, and membership of the organisation. Participants pay their own transport costs.